30 Things to Do Over Holiday Break with Long Island Kids

Visit with Santa and his aquatic friends at the Long Island Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium
Visit with Santa and his aquatic friends at the Long Island Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

School vacation can be intimidating for parents. With holiday break on the horizon, you're staring down an entire week-plus of unstructured time. To help fill the void, we've rounded up 30 holiday break activities for Long Island families from lingering must-do holiday events to visiting longtime favorite destinations, enjoying one-time events, or planning a little escape.

If you want to stay in, we've found some great any-day Zoom activities for kids and grandparents, plus fun games kids can play virtually with friends, and all the best online holiday events for families.

For most Long Island kids, Christmas break runs from Thursday, December 23, 2021, through Sunday, January 2, 2022. You can find even more Long Island happenings in our event calendar and holiday guide.

65 Elm Avenue Christmas House decorations Things to Do Over Holiday Break with Long Island Kids
Take a drive to see some over-the-top houses, including this one on Elm Avenue in Coram. Photo courtesy of the homeowner

Christmas and Holiday Break Ideas for Long Island Families

1. Tour the Neighborhood

Throw the kids in the car, pack some snacks, and hit the road to visit some of these spectacular home holiday light displays before they go dark.

2. Visit With Santa

Schedule a time to get your last-minute gift requests in and snap a picture with Santa before he flies off for final Christmas preparations.

3. Walk in a Winter Wonderland

Visit Bayville Winter Wonderland to meet Santa, ride the holiday train, enjoy some arts and crafts, and check out the arctic skating rink. There is also a Christmas tree forest, axe throwing (dads will dig this!), and rock climbing. Bonus: Most attractions are outdoors, and holiday movies show at the drive-in each weekend beginning at 6pm.

RELATED: Must-Do Holiday Events and Christmas Light Drive-Thrus on Long Island for 2021

The Magic of Lights Things to Do Over Holiday Break with Long Island Kids
Delight in a drive through the Magic of Lights at Jones Beach. Photo courtesy of the Magic of Lights

4. See Some Magic

Gawk at the Magic of Lights drive-thru spectacular at Jones Beach.

5. Then Drive Through More 

See the dazzling lights, amazing vignettes, and holiday scenes at the Smith Point Light Show, a 1.5-mile trail of lights put on by the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County.

6. Celebrate Winter Solstice

Westbury Gardens is illuminated during Shimmering Solstice, a special light display running through Sunday, January 9, 2022.

RELATED: Guide to Holiday and Christma Events for Long Island Families

The Christmas House Things to Do Over Holiday Break with Long Island Kids
The Christmas House in Westbury brings seasonal cheer to life. Photo courtesy of the venue

7. Surround Yourself in Christmas

Immerse yourself in the Christmas season at The Christmas House, an interactive walk-through experience where guests explore a Christmas-themed wonderland.

8. Celebrate With Sharks 

Ring in the new year with Long Island Aquarium's Fishes & Wishes party. Catch a fireworks show along the Peconic Riverfront afterward.

RELATED: Restaurants Open for Christmas Dinner and Takeout on Long Island

Visit the LICM over winter break to see GingerBread Lane
GingerBread Lane brings a confectionary cityscape to the Long Island Children's Museum. Photo courtesy of the venue.

9. Stroll Down Gingerbread Lane

There's always something interesting to see at the Long Island Children's Museum, and we're especially excited about its GingerBread Lane exhibit. Purchase your tickets in advance.

10. Catch a Movie

Movie theaters have reopened, and lots of family-friendly films have hit the big screen this season, including Encanto, Disney's newest flick with music by Broadway veteran Lin-Manuel Miranda.

11. See a Live Show on Long Island

Frosty, Frozen Jr., and Elf the Musical are all being performed on Long Island stages.

12.  Or in the City

Broadway is back, and there are many family-friendly shows to bring the kids to. Be sure to check out the window displays while on your way to the theater.

13. Blast Off or Take Flight

Check out the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which includes its popular Arcade Age exhibit.

14. Roll a Strike

If you're looking for a little indoor fun for the family, hit the lanes ... the bowling lanes, that is, at these alleys in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

15. Have a Sip

 Brrrr, baby, it's cold outside. Warm up with some of the best hot cocoa spots on Long Island.

RELATED: Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids in 2020

Glide across Christopher Morely Ice Rink during the holiday break
Sharpen your skates and take a glide at Christopher Morley Park or another outdoor rink. Photo by LMRose Photography

16. Lace Up

Grab your skates and hit the ice at these wonderful outdoor rinks.

17. Hit Up the Arcade

Rack up the tickets and beat some high scores at one of Long Island's arcades.

18. Bounce Around

Let the kids blow off some energy at an indoor trampoline park or play space

19. Go to the Gold Coast

Explore the North Shore from Port Washington to Port Jefferson.

20. Walk the Beach

 Go for a stunning winter beach walk along our picturesque shorelines.

21. Explore Nature

Get up-close with nature at one of these local nature centers.

22. Root for the Islanders

Check out the new UBS Arena and cheer on the Islanders at one of their scheduled home games over the break. 

23. Enjoy a Holiday Meal

Peruse the holiday village and shops, then have dinner at Milleridge Inn.

24. See the Tree

Day trip into NYC to check out the Rockefeller Center tree or visit the Winter Village at Bryant Park.

25. Hit the Slopes

Head off to one of these family-friendly Northeast ski mountains to beat the cabin fever.

26. Escape the Island

Book a weekend getaway to one of our favorite nearby winter destinations.

27. Go Snow Tubing

Bundle up and take a day trip to a nearby snow tubing spot.

28. Go for a Swim

Pretend it's summer and splash away at these indoor water parks.

29. Cross the Sound

Spend a day on the other side of the Long Island Sound exploring Mystic, Connecticut.

30. Check off Some Bucket List Items

By attempting a few of our top 100 things to do on Long Island with kids.

This article was originally posted in 2017. It was updated in December 2021.

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